Preparing for retirement is a somewhat daunting task that all professionals must eventually confront. However, older employees have the added pressure that comes with planning for potential dental and medical expenses in the very near future.
So, how can older workers prepare for dental care costs once they retire? There are a few different ways! Here is a look at the services that may be covered, and how HR departments (and business owners) can help facilitate employees’ smooth transition into retirement.
Medicare Covers Some Dental Costs—but Not Preventive Care
Having adequate dental coverage during retirement is vital. Oral infections and injuries can cost thousands of dollars without coverage, so you’ll want to make sure your colleagues are well prepared. It’s important to note that Medicare and Medigap don’t cover the routine, preventive dental care that can stop many expensive dental problems before they happen. For example, Medicare doesn’t cover routine cleanings, dentures or fillings—but it does cover other aspects of dental care. Medicare Part A typically covers emergency dental care and some complicated procedures that are done in a hospital.
One option a retired professional might consider is a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes dental coverage. Sometimes referred to as “Part C” Medicare plans, these can be purchased from private insurance companies approved by Medicare. Costs include monthly premiums, copays and out-of-pocket expenses. Much like any other dental plan, the premiums can vary, and a lower monthly premium might result in a higher copay or other costs. But once individuals reach their yearly out-of-pocket limit, they won’t pay for covered services.
A Standalone Dental Plan Is Another Option
Another option you can suggest to team members nearing retirement is a standalone plan. These premiums are often fairly inexpensive, but your colleagues will want to do some research, as plans can vary. For example, PPO dental insurance plans allow individuals to go to any dentist they want, while HMO dental plans are more limited—and some cities may not have any dentists who accept HMOs. So, advise your coworkers to read the fine print before picking one. And don’t forget to look for plans offered by groups that cater to retirees!
You might consider talking with a health care agent to determine the best standalone plans in your region, and then have a list available for employees. Those nearing retirement might want to join a plan early because some have waiting periods for certain procedures or preexisting conditions.
Consider Consumer Discount Programs
Discount programs usually involve a yearly fee (typically around $200) and then offer discounts on dental care from participating dentists. The discounts can go up to 50 percent and may include both routine and advanced care. For example, a crown might cost $780 normally, while a discount program member might pay $480. These plans won’t make dental care free, but they could help significantly.
Some Dentists Provide Their Own Coverage
Another option is encouraging your fellow employees to talk directly to the dentist that they like the best. Many dental offices offer their own insurance plans or discount programs for uninsured patients. They might involve a percentage discount on certain procedures.
If dental plans aren’t viable for them, going to a dental school for treatment is another option. Your team members might find savings that are even greater than what they would get in a discount plan. There are trade-offs, however. Dental schools are often run on a first come, first served basis, rather than by appointment—and the wait can be long if individuals don’t arrive first thing in the morning.
Helping Your Colleagues Prepare
Don’t leave your coworkers hanging high and dry! Send out reminders and brochures discussing dental care options after retirement. It’s also a good idea to enlist the help of a health care agent who can meet with employees one on one to discuss options and savings strategies that might work for their unique situations.
Preparing for retirement doesn’t have to be scary when it comes to covering dental care costs. It takes some preparation and research, but there really are a lot of options available. Business owners and HR representatives can help employees by sharing all the options available to them and providing direct access to health care brokers who can help.
Interested in learning more about the various dental plans available to you and your company’s workforce? Check out the information on Group Dental Insurance Plans that’s hosted on United Concordia’s website.